2016-03-28 / Video

Peep show

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100 entrants in annual peeps diorama contest
By Allan Stein

NEWPORT — Susan Hagerman of Newport isn’t exactly fond of the chewy sweet texture of Peeps — colored marshmallow holiday candies shaped into chicks, bunnies, and other cute animals.

“Have you ever had a Peep? They’re totally disgusting,” chuckled Hagerman as she went about snapping pictures of “American Gothic,” a three-dimensional “diorama” featuring the iconic portrait of mom and pitchfork-toting pop figures made with Peeps in period clothing.

The work was pure tongue-in-cheek Americana, with a good helping of corn syrup and gelatin — the main ingredients in Peeps — thrown in.

It was also among the 100 entries featured during the 5th annual “Peeps Diorama Contest” at the Richard Free Public Library Arts Center at 58 North Main St. in Newport.

What is a diorama, you ask?

“A diorama is a small depiction of a scene that you make from a shoebox” and other materials, said LAC marketing coordinator Frances Huot.

The dioramas on display Friday were mostly three-dimensional miniature models of various slices of life, populated with Peeps.

On one table there was the “Peep Museum of Fine Art,” and on another sat the “Hot Yoga Peeps” -- yellow bunnies on purple felt yoga mats spread out inside a cut-away cardboard box.

“Newport Peeps” celebrated the recent 100th Winter Carnival, a tri-sectional house with cutout photos of the Newport Opera House and other landmark buildings.

“Politi-Peeps Debate Tonight” highlighted Peep presidential candidates Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders standing side-by-side with Darth Vader and Alfred E. Neuman — the gap-toothed guy from Mad Magazine.

Anna Miner of “Suna-peep,” as she jokingly referred to her hometown, had a distinct fascination for the yoga diorama.

“I think yoga Peeps is pretty funny. It’s pretty creative,” Miner said.

Huot said the competition featured both children, adult, family, group, and Best-In-Peeps  categories.

“The contestants come from all over the state, but a lot of them are from Newport,” said Huot, adding that the contest was inspired by Peep diorama competition sponsored by The Washington Post in years past.

“It has been really great. This has been a record number of entries we’ve had,” she said.

In addition to the entries, the Peep Party on Friday included Peeps-themed refreshments and the chance to cast votes for the Peep-les Choice diorama.

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